On 29 January 2019, WiPS had an “Open Mic” night to showcase the wide range of work we do. It was a small group (but a perfectly formed one) that gathered together at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club.
We all had a chance to introduce ourselves and say where we were “coming from” before “saying our piece” which included reading portions of memoirs, poems, travel writing, and Imprint pieces — pieces include Sue Brattle‘s touching and true story about an encounter with a mother in a hairdressing salon who was preparing to visit her son in prison, the animated performance by Susan Lavender of her ode to gerunds and many more.
Relocating from Singapore to Tokyo and then to Hong Kong within a year in 2007 wasn’t easy for my family of four. But realizing we might stick around for at least a few years allowed me to settle in.
I picked up brushes and canvases from the art store in Wan Chai and began the artistic journey that I had originally contemplated while living in the US in 2000. My first exhibit in Hong Kong was at home with the help of a few friends. I sold a couple of my favourite paintings and that nudged me forward. It was a tough journey but I never wavered.
In 2013, I was awarded an Honorary Prize for “Best Impressionistic Style Painting” at the Master of Art International Art Prize in London. I literally fell off my seat as I wasn’t expecting any recognition, let alone an award. In the meantime, I took a graphic design course and started to write freelance for Hong Kong Living as I wanted to make the most of my Masters in English Literature. I aIso undertook an internship at an art magazine, ArtAsiaPacific, and learned a lot about the publishing world. I won the Justice Centre Choice Award for the Human Rights Art Prize 2015 for my acrylic painting, “If Only I Could Fly”. Using this success, I applied and exhibited at various locations in Hong Kong, Osaka, and Kuala Lumpur.
Now as an editor for Southside Magazine at Hong Kong Living, I have come to realize the value of time and doing what we enjoy in life. And yes, I still paint on the weekend. You see me socializing less but hey, I’m enjoying the journey!
Many thanks to Christine Loh and Peter Gordon for a fascinating discussion about the merits of publishing short books as a way of sharing ideas with a community. We’re looking forward to reading No Third Person and reflecting on Christine Loh and Richard Cullen’s thoughts on the way forward for Hong Kong. It will be a quick but fascinating read! Look out for other titles in the series: Journey to the West and There’s No Poetry in a Typhoon. We look forward to reading more short books that are sure to follow from Abbreviated Press.
Thank you to Meg Wolitzer for joining us at the FCC on 9 November for a glass of wine and an engaging conversation about the writing life!
Wednesday, 26 September at the FCC
Many thanks to Celia Claase for a wonderful evening with WiPS at the FCC. She inspired us to think about who we are as writers, consider our potential audience, and suggested different platforms to explore to launch our work into the world.